Archive for the ‘Progress Report’ Category

I normally don’t make New Year’s resolutions. When I do, they usually don’t last longer than a month or even a week.  But this year, I decided to break from tradition and actually make a resolution: to try new methods to get people interested in my writing. This decision was partially spurred by my earlier decision to try and find a literary agent, as well as from reading a book on marketing and realizing that I needed to change my approach to how I was getting people interested in my fiction.

It’s a hard market out there. If what you’re doing isn’t working, maybe you should try something new.

So if you’re still here and you’re not thinking, “Oh, this is just one of those posts where he blathers on about what’s going on with him and his life”, then you’re probably thinking “How is he doing with that resolution, then?” and “How did he change his approach?”Well, I like to think that so far, so good. This isn’t the sort of resolution that can be objectively measured, like losing so many pounds or bringing your academic scores up. I could measure it by new followers, but not all followers read posts frequently, and only a small fraction are willing to spend money on my books. Book sales can be an indication, as can reads on Wattpad, but to base my success solely on those factors doesn’t seem the wisest course to me. And finally, building an audience is a long and arduous process. This blog took five years to gain as many followers as it has, after all. An audience of readers interested in my books might take even longer.

It’s easier to talk about what I’m doing different. One thing I’ve done is that I’ve stopped doing ads through Facebook and Twitter. Unless you have of big budget like Coca-Cola’s advertising department, ads through those sites usually don’t translate into sales. At the very least, I’m saving money, and that’s never a bad thing.

Another thing I’ve been doing is related to my goal of trying the traditional route again and finding a publisher. That is focusing more on my niche, which is horror. I know, I’ve written and published a lot of sci-fi, but I prefer horror, and what I’m trying to do now is to write more horror stories and trying to get them published in magazines and anthologies. I’m still working on Full Circle, the final book in the Reborn City series, but I’m also devoting more time to horror. The hope is that I can produce enough work and get it published in magazines, building my name as all or a writer, thereby making myself a bit more attractive to horror fans and possibly literary agents and/or publishers.

As of yet, I’ve only submitted one short story, and I’m still waiting to hear back on it. But the next time I take a break from Full Circle, I plan to do some editing and writing, and see what happens. The goal here is to at least get a couple stories published by the end of the year (fingers crossed!).

A third method I’m trying, and this is already producing results, is I’ve started publishing through Wattpad again. Last month, I published my sci-fi novelette Gynoid on that website, and so far I’ve had a positive feedback. There’s been quite a few readers, a couple of votes (which is kind of like “Likes” for that platform), and even a comment or two. One of those comments was from someone who was very relieved to see a certain outcome for one of the characters. That particular comment made me feel very happy, because it showed that the story I wrote and the characters within had people invested.

Sure, Wattpad doesn’t make me any money, but it does give me an audience. And based on Gynoid’s success, I may publish more stories through the website in future, especially for stories that might have a hard time getting placed in magazines.

So that’s what I’m doing right now. It’s a multipronged approach, which is usually what is recommended for any big endeavor like this. Later this year, after I finished the first draft of Full Circle, I plan on editing Rose and shopping that around to agents. Rose really represents not only my growth as a writer, but it is a prime example of the niche I want to write for, so I feel that’s the best novel to shop around to agents and publishing companies. I’m also considering different social media platforms to try out, like Goodreads and Reddit (I know one person who is very active on one of those sites, so I may ask her for advice). If it can work, anything’s on the table.

For now though, I’m just focusing on focusing on my niche and finishing Full Circle. Any resolution that is to be successful takes time, proper planning, and patience. I want this to go well, so I’m not going to rush any of the steps I’m taking to further widen my audience. Will any of it work? Tough to say. But I’m an optimist at heart, and I like to think that this new approach will eventually yield results.

And if you are interested, I’ll give an update in a couple of months or at the end of the year, and let you know how I’m doing. In the meantime, if any of you have any tips on expanding my audience, or places I can look for an agent/publisher, or places that I could potentially publish my stories, let me know. If they work out, I’ll credit you in any post I write about it.

That’s all for now, Followers of Fear. I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me, so wish me luck. And thank you, as always, for supporting me as I work hard on becoming a great horror novelist.

Reborn City

Reborn City

Well, this took longer to do than expected. I started writing this novel in November, and it’s late February now. I hope this isn’t an indication of how long the rest of the novel will take.

So if you’re unaware, for the past couple of months I’ve been working on Full Circle, the final novel in my Reborn City trilogy.The RC trilogy follows the Hydras, a superpowered street gang living in a dystopian future. Amongst its main themes are the horrors of prejudice and hatred, gang violence, drug addiction, and above all, learning to overcome what you and what others think of you.

I started writing this trilogy in high school, and it is so crazy that I’m finally on the last book. Even better, I made it to the first real milestone. Okay, technically with thirty-five chapters, there is no even point where it’s off the fourth of the way through, but being nine chapters and is close enough. And while as a first draft this novel is going to need a lot of work (pretty sure that the first two chapters are going to need lots of revision), I think I’m off to a very good start. I’m doing a good job of reintroducing the world to readers who haven’t been back in a while, introduce some really cool villains, and set up an intriguing plot. Plus, I feel like this novel is going to show how much I’ve matured as a writer. You really get this on mature sense of style and storytelling from reading this book. Even if it isn’t horror, this might be my best work yet in some respects.

All right, now for page and word count, which is something I always include with these updates. In terms of pages (which means 8.5″ x 11″ size pages with 12-point Times New Roman font and double-spaced lines), the total is 106 pages, with the average page number per chapter being 11.7. In terms of word count, the total is 30,313, a decent-sized novella, with the average word count per chapter being 3,368. Not bad, if I do say so myself.

So how will things go from here on out? Well, despite my worries at the beginning of this post, I’ve actually started speeding up my writing. This is in thanks mostly to Dragon, a speech to text software that I bought and downloaded onto my computer. Basically what I do is I narrate the story myself, and Dragon puts what I say on the page. What might take me two hours to write now takes closer to a half hour, forty-five minutes. It’s quite handy, and I plan to do a full post on it on Self-Published Authors Helping Other Authors in the near future.

Book 2: Video Rage

Book 2: Video Rage

The point being, hopefully it won’t take another four months for me to reach the halfway point of the novel (which I’ll say is Chapter 18 for simplicity’s sake). And I have some interesting chapters coming up, so that’s even more reason to write. Chapter 10 is going to give us a look at most of the villains in this book, and I’m really looking forward to exploring them a little bit. I’ve actually made some of them a little scary. Like, Stephen King – style psycho crazy villain scary. And I always have fun writing those sorts of characters.

Plus we have some new revelations about certain characters, a little character development, and a location I’ve been saving to explore for this last book. Should be fun.

Well, that’s all for now. If any of what I’ve said here is made you want to check out the Reborn City trilogy, I’ll include the links below. And if you do decide to check out my books, please let me know what you think. Positive or negative, I love feedback and I would love to hear yours.

Until next time, my Followers of Fear. Pleasant nightmares!

Reborn City:  Available on Amazon, Createspace, Barnes & NobleiBooksSmashwords, and Kobo

Video Rage: Available from Amazon, Kindle, CreatespaceBarnes & Noble, iBooks, Smashwords, and Kobo.

Well, I’m very excited that something I’ve been wanting to do since the New Year is about to happen. Now, some of you may remember Gynoid, a science-fiction novelette I wrote nearly a year-and-a-half ago about a guy who buys a robot that looks like a human girl, a gynoid (the female equivalent of an android), in order to become more sexually experienced. What results from this move is the basis of this story. I’ve tried getting it published in magazines, but the ones that allow larger word counts rejected it, so I put it aside.

I think I might have mentioned it before, but my New Year’s Resolution for this year is to get more people into reading my work, and one of the ways I can do this is through Wattpad, which is like the YouTube for writers. People upload their stories, and other people read them. I used the website previously, but because I couldn’t make money off of that site, and I would like to make money off my writing, I didn’t use it that much.

But I think that Wattpad could be a good platform to find new readers, and maybe a few of them might subscribe to my blog or even pick up my novels if they like what they find on Wattpad. And I really want Gynoid to be read by people, because I really like the story and what I did with it. So I’m going to be publishing Gynoid in installments on Wattpad for you guys to read!

Yes, that’s right, Gynoid is going to be published on Wattpad. You can read it for free on the website, and since many of you actually aren’t into horror (though I’ll never understand why), you can read this one, since it’s straight science fiction. I plan to publish it in parts, maybe 3 or 4, because it is a bit long and I think it’ll be easier to digest the story if it’s in parts. I also think if I tell it in parts, then it might keep people more interested. If a story or part of a story ends on a cliffhanger, people will probably want to read more, right? That’s what I hope will happen here.

And since Wattpad allows you to upload a cover with your stories and I wanted an awesome cover this time around, I sought out my good friend and fellow writer Joleene Naylor, who also made the cover for Video Rage, to help me bring the cover of my dreams to life. I took photos from CanStock Photos, which is a great resource for affordable stock images for your creative projects, and she took them, along with my instructions, to make this nifty cover.

gynoid-blogs

Isn’t that amazing? Joleene literally took the vision in my head and made it real! Usually I have to kill several people for that to happen on its own. I absolutely love this cover, and I can’t thank Joleene enough for helping me create this awesome cover. It looks really professional, and I think people will gravitate towards it in ways they haven’t to previous covers I’ve made on my own. I wish I could do what Joleene does.

Anyway, the first part will be out February 14th. I feel Valentine’s Day is a good day to put out the first part of this particular story. When it does come out, I’ll be posting links everywhere I can. And after that, I think I’ll release each part on a weekly basis until the story is wrapped up, and put each link on my Stand-Alones and Other Works page so anyone who wants to read it later can.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I hope you’re looking forward to reading this story as much as I am for you to read it and I am counting down the days till February 14th. If anything pops up in the meantime to talk about, I’ll let you know. Have a good evening, and pleasant nightmares!

The NaNoWriMo logo/coat of arms.

Well, it’s December 1st. That means a couple of things: start of the holiday season and prep for the new year, the days get to their shortest point, I try to push a tag with the hope that it will become a trend (so far, it’s been hit and miss with those I’ve tagged). For writers around the world, however, it means National Novel Writing Month, and assessing how each person did and how their manuscripts turned out.

I’ve actually always found National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short, full of strange contradictions. For one thing, it takes place around the world, but it’s kept “national.” Heck, even the month’s official website puts you in touch with participants from all over the world! Why don”t we change the name?

For another thing, it’s amazing how many authors take this challenge seriously. For those of you who don’t know, during the month of November, many writers try to write a fifty-thousand word novel within 30 days (that’s about 1667 words per day if you want the math). And I’ve seen so many author friends on Facebook and in blogs lament how they only got so many words down. “I only got eight-thousand words.” “I was so close to 50K!” “This NaNoWriMo sucked! I hardly got any work done.” I don’t even want to know what they thought of the material they wrote.

Just for clarification, there’s no actual prize if you write a 50K novel in 30 days. You just get bragging rights. But plenty of authors see it as a reflection of themselves if they can’t get the words down. And I actually kind of understand this: on nights when I didn’t write anything down (and those nights occurred quite often, sadly), I felt like it was some sort of reflection on my skills or on myself as a writer. It didn’t matter if there just wasn’t enough time before bed, or if I had a book I really wanted to read, or if I just didn’t feel like writing that night. I felt bad. Maybe not as bad as I could have felt, I have a day job that takes up a good chunk of time, so I at least have an excuse for why I’m not writing more. But I bet for those who write full-time, it could be very frustrating when they didn’t reach their goals.

So how did I do, now that we’re on the subject? Well, I knew that with a job and that unfortunate habit of sleeping seven hours a night, plus eating and bill-paying and grocery shopping and everything else that goes on in my life, I had only so much time to do any work. Therefore, I decided that I would keep my expectations reasonable. I decided that I would aim to get ten-thousand words done, and if I got past that, I would aim for another five-thousand afterwards. If I somehow managed to get past that, I’d aim for five-thousand more, and so on and so forth. The result was I probably felt less stress than my colleagues, and I consequently met my first goal, and got more than halfway to my second goal.

To be exact, I got 13,821 words down by the end of the month, about four-and-a-half chapters worth of story. It wasn’t easy, but I managed to do it. How did it turn out? Well, I guess as well as a first draft can turn out. I mean, it’s only in the subsequent drafts that novels actually become the brilliant stories we all hold so dear. During the first drafts, they’re like pre-Fairy Godmother Cinderella: full of beauty and potential but in need of some serious clean up. My own NaNoWriMo project, Full Circle, has a lot of good stuff in it so far. It’s the third book in my Reborn City series, and considering that I started this series about eight years ago, this novel is already showing my growth over that time the most more than any recent story I’ve written.

Still, I think Chapter 1 could use a lot of clean-up. There’s a lot of exposition there, so making it work with the real storytelling moments is important. And possibly the prologue could use some polish as well. Yeah, I included a prologue with this book. New thing for this series, but I think it’s good for this book. Just needs some edits.

In the meantime though, I still have an entire novel to finish, and it’ll probably be a lot longer than 50K. I’m hoping that I can finish it by mid-spring 2017, and have it out early 2018 at the latest. We’ll see what happens.

Well, that’s all for now. Unless there’s something worth posting about, I’ll try to put out a Writing/Reflections-themed post out at some point during that month. In the meantime, it’s writing, writing, writing, and hopefully a lot of it.

Until next time, my Followers of Fear!

Reborn City and Video Rage, side by side.

Reborn City and Video Rage, side by side.

So it’s been a month since Video Rage, the sequel to Reborn City and the second book in the Reborn City series, came out. And I’m happy to say that it’s doing not too badly. In fact, some of the copies that have been sold have been bought by people other than me or my family. That’s a new one, LOL (in all seriousness though, a lot of copies have been sold. And I think my parents and my sister are the only people in my family who have copies besides me, so that says something). I think an author friend or two have been reading the books. And even Reborn City has had an uptick in sales, which I think says some good things.

And even better, I already have one review, which I encourage you to check out.

So with that in mind, I’ve got a few announcements I hope you’ll take the time to read. I’m certainly excited about them:

1. Some price changes on the e-books. I’ve expressed my regrets on this subject before, but I only have so much control over the price of the paperbacks (otherwise each paperback would be between eight and ten dollars, so they’d be a bit more affordable). However, I have plenty of control over the e-books, and I’m glad to say that I’m doing something different with the e-books of Reborn City and Video Rage that I’ve been wanting to try for quite some time.

VR CS front cover

Previously, all my e-books, with the exception of The Quiet Game, have retailed at $2.99. However, from now on, on all the platforms, the e-book of Reborn City will be $0.99, and the e-book of Video Rage will be $1.99. I’m hoping that this will make it a bit easier for people to get their hands on the books and enjoy them. I’ve heard from other authors who have used this method and have had very good results from this, but I’ve never had the chance to try this until now. And now that the opportunity has arrived, I thought I’d give it a try, see what happens.

So if you’ve wanted to read my science-fiction novels on your Kindle or Kobo or whatever but price has been a problem, I hope this helps.

2. The final book in the series will be my NaNoWriMo project this year. I know I said I was going to do a ghost story as my project for National Novel Writing Month, but I changed my mind for two reasons. One was that I wanted a bit more time for me to figure out the best way to tell this particular ghost story (I don’t normally write ghost stories, and I want to get it somewhat right when I do the first draft). The other is that I don’t want three more years to pass before I get out the next book in the series. Unless you’re writing Harry Potter, I don’t think that’s a good gap between books if you can help it. So I’m putting the final book ahead of the queue, with the hope that maybe I can get out maybe ten or twenty-thousand words this winter (I doubt with my schedule I’ll get close to fifty-thousand, though I can certainly try. And I got thirty-thousand of Snake written out back in the day, so who knows?).

I’ve actually done a little work already on the third book, which I intend to call Full Circle (my newest tag). I’ve come up with a bunch of new characters, including the villain(s) of the new book (if you haven’t read VR yet, I do give hints on who that might be, so go check it out so you can start theorizing), and written out the first couple chapters on an early draft of an outline. I also know some of the events that will come later, and I’ll be doing some research later this year so I can get some aspects of Islam right (it’s amazing how often Zahara’s religion comes up in the story).

Get excited, because this is probably my most ambitious novel yet, especially with all I have planned with this story.

RC cover

3. The Reborn City audio book is going to take some more time to bring about. Back in November, I said the audio book was on the way and I had a narrator. And since then, I really haven’t had any updates on this. Well, that’s because of embarrassment. You see, my narrator and I had to dissolve our contract due to some problems on both our ends. Since then, I’ve been trying to find a new narrator, and I may have one, but it depends on her schedule when she finishes her current projects early next month. I didn’t say anything because…well, who wants to admit that the audio book they were so enthusiastic about and which they were saying was going to be done as soon as possible is having technical difficulties?

I do still hope to have a Reborn City audio book out someday (and Snake, I’m working on that as well), though it may take a bit more time. Hopefully though, they will happen, and those among you who enjoy audio books will be able to enjoy them.

 

That’s all for now, Followers of Fear. Shabbat is coming in, so I have to get ready for that. You all have a wonderful weekend, and I hope I can check in at some point soon. In the meantime, the links for both books are below. Make sure to check them out if you’re interested. And if you do decide to read them, please do me a favor and leave a review so I know what you thought. Positive or negative, I love feedback, and it makes me a better writer too.

Until next time, then!

Reborn City: Amazon, Createspace, Barnes & NobleiBooksSmashwords, and Kobo

Video Rage: Amazon, Kindle, CreatespaceBarnes & Noble, iBooks,Smashwords, and Kobo

Video Rage

I can’t believe how fast a single week can go. And I’m happy to say that Video Rage‘s first week has been very successful. Already a lot of people are getting copies of it, and even sales of Reborn City, the first book in the trilogy, has picked up a bit. This makes me really happy because it lets me know that people are very interested in reading these creations of mine.

Now, if you’re unfamiliar with Reborn City and Video Rage (and you must be really new here if that’s the case), they’re the first two books in the science fiction trilogy I’ve been writing since high school. The series follows Zahara Bakur, a Muslim teenager living in a dystopian future, and how her life changes drastically when she is forced to join the Hydras, a rising street gang in the western projects of the Vegas-style city-state Reborn City. Once in the Hydras, she learns that the gang’s leaders have amazing powers and abilities, and that there’s some connection between them and Reborn City’s mysterious leaders. The events that occur in the aftermath of these revelations will not only shape the lives of Zahara and her friends, but perhaps change the world.

When the first book came out back in 2013 (yeah, it took me three years to get the second book out. I was busy with school and work and a few other things), I was gladdened by how much people liked it. Indeed, those who left reviews had some very nice things to say:

This is not a genre I typically delve into, but I took this book on vacation and couldn’t put it down. The plot had me turning pages at quite the clip. The characters were unique and interesting and the imagery had me creating my own visual of what Rami’s interpretation of the future looked like. For first time novelist, Rami Ungar, this was an outstanding showing of talent and commitment to his passion of writing. Looking forward to seeing what he comes up with next!

–Michele K

As a reader who does not read books in this genre, I must admit that I could not put down the book. I attribute this to the talent of the author. I am looking forward to reading the next books published by Ungar. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy action with features of supernatural powers and sci-fi.

–ENJ

This is an extremely commendable effort by a new young writer, whom I believe we will see much more of in the years ahead. Rami Ungar’s vision of a frightening dystopian future is peppered with those elements that make us all human. There are quite a few surprises in the book, and I am anxious for the next volume in the series to be released.

–Marc N

Gangland violence, superhero-like enhancements, a futuristic setting, and social commentary that stems from a semi-post-apocalyptic theme. And then there’s a story where people come together as a family to deal with mutual loss and tragedy. What’s not to like?

–Matthew S. Williams, author of Whiskey Delta and Pappa Zulu

That last one was especially important for me, because it came from an author friend whom I admire a lot.

So yeah, people have enjoyed the first book. And I’m hoping that with the second book, people have similar reactions. With sequels, I try to include the parts that worked, improve or fix the parts that didn’t, and overall expand the world and action in the story without just adding more explosions and some flimsy plot a la Michael Bay (there are explosions here and there, but they’re definitely not excessive).

Reborn City and Video Rage, side by side.

Reborn City and Video Rage, side by side.

I also hope that people take the main theme of the book series to heart. A lot of the characters have been through a lot, and have been told that they are good for only one thing, usually not something good. The series follows them as they realize that they can be better than what people think they’re good for. I’m hoping that a lot of readers will find that theme applies to their own lives and that they take it to heart.

If you wish to check out Reborn City and Video Rage, I’ll include the links below. I hope you enjoy the stories, should you decide to check them out, and that whatever your thoughts, positive or negative, you let me know. I love getting feedback from readers, and it makes me a better writer to begin with.

Until next time, my Followers of Fear. Happy reading!

Reborn City: Amazon, Createspace, Barnes & NobleiBooksSmashwords, and Kobo

Video Rage: Amazon, Kindle, CreatespaceBarnes & Noble, iBooks, Smashwords, and Kobo

VR CS front cover

It’s finally happening! It’s finally happened! It’s finally out!

I’m sorry, but this is a big deal for me. After a lot of writing and editing and marketing and just plain waiting, Video Rage, the sequel to Reborn City and the second book in the Reborn City series, is finally available.

I know, very exciting stuff, right?

Now if you’re unfamiliar with the Reborn City series, the trilogy follows Zahara Bakur, a Sunni Muslim girl living in the dystopian city of Reborn City, who is forced to join the West Reborn Hydras, a rising street gang in the city’s projects whose leaders seem to have amazing powers and abilities. As Zahara becomes entrenched in the gang life and grows close to some of the other Hydras, including quiet and grim leader Rip, she becomes embroiled in a conspiracy involving the Hydra leadership and the mysterious Parthenon Company that rules over Reborn City. She and her friends will have to band together if they are to survive what is in store for them.

In the second book of the Reborn City series, (SPOILERS!) Zahara and the rest of the Hydras–Rip, Ilse, Alto, Rico, Miguel, Owl, Fox, Iori, and Kevlar–are on the run from the Parthenon Company and its insidious CEO, Jason Price. Branded as terrorists and hunted by every law enforcement agency on the North American continent, the Hydras have to band together to survive. Not everyone will survive what’s to come, and tensions will rise in the group as new friends and old enemies appear to change the course of their lives. If they manage to survive it all, the Hydras may not only overcome what fate has in store for them, but also find hope in the most unlikely of places. (End of SPOILERS!)

If you’re interested in getting the second book, or you’re curious and want to pick up the first book, I’ll include the links below. The ebooks are available for ninety-nine cents for both books through the end of the month, while the paperbacks are available for differing prices depending on book and what site you get it from. And if you decide to read the books, please let me know what you think of them. Positive or negative, I love feedback from my readers, and it helps me as a writer to hear what you think of my stories.

That’s all for now. I’m going to go celebrate the latest book in my bibliography finally getting published. Thanks to everyone who’s supported me and helped me get this far with the story, and another thank you to everyone who’s going to read this story and (hopefully) enjoy it. I couldn’t have done any of this without you.

Until next time, my Followers of Fear!

Reborn City:  Amazon, Createspace, Barnes & NobleiBooksSmashwords, and Kobo

Video Rage:  Amazon, Kindle, Createspace, Barnes & Noble, iBooks,Smashwords, and Kobo.